“become one flesh”



The New International Version (NIV) of this verse reads: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The term “one flesh” refers to the physical and spiritual union of two people. It is used most often in the context of marriage between a male and female in the Bible. The first reference made to “one flesh” is in Genesis 2:24.

In the New Testament, Jesus responds to the Pharisees question about getting a divorce by answering, “God made them male and female…Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” See Matthew 19:4–6 and Mark 10:6–9 for full context. Later, in Apostle Paul's letter to the people of Ephesus, writing about marriage he writes: “they two shall be one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). Finally, in Apostle Paul's first letter to the people of Corinth, he describes the joining of flesh with a prostitute. To this Paul warns: “God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.” (1 Corinthians 6:15–16)

To get what Genesis 2:24 means in detail, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

Verse Picture

Verse (KJV) with Popularity

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Very high popularity: 9,900 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Genesis chapter 2 using average monthly Google searches.

Genesis 2:24 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Hebrew Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Hebrew word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Hebrew word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
Therefore כֵּן֙ Properly, set upright; hence (figuratively as adjective) just; but usually (as adverb or conjunction) rightly or so (in various applications to manner, time and relation; often with other particles) Therefore
shall a man אִ֔ישׁ A man as an individual or a male person; often used as an adjunct to a more definite term (and in such cases frequently not expressed in translation) man
leave יַֽעֲזָב To loosen, i.e., relinquish, permit, etc leave
his father אָבִ֖יו Father, in a literal and immediate, or figurative and remote application father
and his mother, אִמּ֑וֹ A mother (as the bond of the family); in a wide sense (both literally and figuratively [like father]) mother
and shall cleave וְדָבַ֣ק Properly, to impinge, i.e., cling or adhere; figuratively, to catch by pursuit cleave
unto his wife: בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ A woman wife
and they shall be וְהָי֖וּ To exist, i.e., be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary) and they shall be
one אֶחָֽד׃ Properly, united, i.e., one; or (as an ordinal) first one
flesh. לְבָשָׂ֥ר Flesh (from its freshness); by extension, body, person; also (by euphemistically) the pudenda of a man flesh

Verse Context

See Genesis 2:24 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 22  And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

  • 23  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

  • 24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

  • 25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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